The Hawks picked up three wins over the past five games but did so with three very tough teams.
They first took on the second-place team in the BC Division Prince George Cougars in a midweek contest. The 4 – 2 win started with an early goal by Josh Zareski. Prince George tied the game midway through the period on the powerplay. Gabe Klassen put the Hawks back in the lead with a power play goal with less than a minute remaining in the period.
Midway through the second period, Prince George once again tied the game.
Rhett Ravndahl, with his first-ever WHL goal, and Aiden Litke scored in the third period to put the Hawks up to stay. Shots favored Portland 37 to 21, including a 10 -1 third period. The Hawks went 1 for 3 on the powerplay, with the Cougars 1 for 6.
The Hawks took on Seattle Thunderbirds in the Teddy Bear Toss game, where Marcus Nguyen got the Hawks in the lead with the Teddy Bear goal, which triggered over 14,000 furry friends cascading down to the ice. The ensuing ten-minute delay to clean the plush from the ice was not wasted on the Hawks, who went up 2-0 with a Dawson Pasternak marker later in the period.
Seattle then scored three straight in the third period, including a pair just over a minute apart and one with less than 4 minutes in regulation.
With Dante Giannuzzi pulled, the Hawks created a buzz in the Seattle zone. Goaltender Scott Razlaff misplayed the puck behind the net as Jack O’Brien fished out the puck, found James Stefen, and flipped it to Luca Cagnoni out front for the tying goal.
Seattle wasn’t able to figure out Dante in the shootout. Marcus Nguyen scored for the Hawks giving them the 4-3 shootout win.
The shots were close, with Seattle leading 40 to 38, and neither team scored on the powerplay, with Portland having three and Seattle five opportunities.
The next night, the Everett Silvertips provided the opposition as the Hawks looked to three wins in a row.
Gabe Klassen and Carter Southeran scored less than a minute apart, with James Stefan on the powerplay adding a tally sixteen minutes in to put the Hawks up 3-0 in the first period.
Midway through the second period, Everett got on the board but was replied to by Aiden Litke to keep the three-goal lead. Everett scored later in the third period but could not close the gap further as the Tips fell 4-2 to the Hawks.
Shots were led by Everett 34-33, and the Hawks were 100% on the powerplay, going 1 for 1, while Everett was 1 for 4.
The Hawks will play a home-and-home series with Vancouver Giants, with the games on Friday and Saturday, and that final game will be at home on the 17th.
That will also be the final game before the Christmas break. The Booster Club will auction off the player Christmas ornaments that Saturday night, with proceeds benefitting the Shop With A Hawk event.
Marek Alscher has been named to the preliminary Czechsia squad for World Juniors. He will miss the final two games of the Christmas break as well as three games after Christmas. It will depend on travel connections where he would rejoin the Hawks on the Eastern Swing.
The trade deadline will be Tuesday, January 10, 2023, when the Hawks are on the road. Currently, the Hawks hold the top spot in the US Division, with Seattle holding two games.
The CHL poll came out with the Hawks listed in the 5th spot and Seattle uprooting Winnipeg for the top spot in the poll. Kamloops, which hosts the Cup, is listed as an honorable mention. Will they look to make deals as the trade deadline looms? There is a trade moratorium during the Christmas break but expect a frenzy post-Christmas.
Have a great holiday season, and we will update you at the end of the break!